Skip to main content

Full text of "Dedication Services. ... June 10, 1890."

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on Hbrary shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http : //books . google . com/| 

THl- ( Jl-T Ol 

Wv V.e-o'v\'^o&^ 



» « 

• • •» » 

• • » t " 






peeble-]\Jinded Women, 

I^EU//^I^I^, - - ffEU/rOI^I^. 

UONE 10, 1890. 

fU/ ^iy± . JicM'-^4' /'^'^^ 

'^iff ' '^ / ^. f.K < •/»; 

NBSnERRiC, N. V.: 




EliBfTBA, N. Y. 
CXiTDB, N. Y. 

Nbwabk, N. Y. 
NawAKK, N. Y. 
Nbwabk, N. Y. 
Stbaousb, N. Y. 
Maobdon, N. Y. 







- ^.-.^ 

. • . \ ^ ' 

Aet of Ineorporation. 

OH-A.^^. SSI. 

AN ACT to incorporate the Custodial Asylum for Feeble- 
minded Women at Newark, Wayne county, New York, 
and to provide for the appointment of Trustees and the 
purchase of buildings and grounds. 

Passed May 14, 1885 » three-fifths being present. 

The People of the State of New Tork, represented in Senate 
and Assembly^ do enact as follows: 

Section i . — The Asylum established by the State Board 
of Charities, at Newark, Wayne county, for feeble-minded 
women, is hereby continued and shall be a body corporate, 
and shall be known as the State Custodial Asylum for Fee- 
ble-minded Women at Newark, New York, and shall be 
under the management and control of a Board of Trustees to 
be appointed as hereinafter provided, and shall be under the 
general supervision of the State Board of Charities. 

§ 2. — ^The Governor, by and with the consent of the Sen- 
ate, shall appoint nine persons, three of whom shall be fe- 
males, who shall constitute the Board of Trustees. Three of 
said Trustees shall be appointed for two years, three for four 
years and three for six years ; all appointments of Trustees 
thereafter shall be made by the Governor by and with the 
consent of the Senate, and shall be for six years, except ap- 
pointments to fill vacancies, which shall be for the unexpired 
term. Only said Board of Trustees shall have the custody 


and control of all property, and power to make all rules for 
the management and control of the effects of said Asylum. 
Said Board of Trustees shall also have power to appoint one 
of their number President of said Board, one member of their 
number Secretary, and one member Treasurer. The Treas- 
urer shall, before he receives any money, give a bond to the 
people of the State of New York in such sum and with such 
sureties as a majority of the Board ol Trustees shall re- 

§ 3. — Said Board of Trustees shall have power to appoint 
a Superintendent, a Matron, and employ all assistants that 
may be necessary for the proper management of said 

§ 4. — The sum of fifteen thousand dollars, or so much 
thereof as may be necessary, out of any sum or sums here- 
tofore appropriated for the support and maintenance of the 
inmates of the Custodial Asylum for the services of atten- 
dants therein, and for other necessary expenses and the or- 
dinary repairs of said Asylum, until the close of the next 
fiscal year, may be expended under the direction of the Trus- 
tees of the State Asylum for Idiots, for the support and 
maintenance of such additional inmates of said Asylum for 
idiots as may by law be committed to its care, in excess of 
the number of such inmates for whose support and mainte- 
nance appropriations have already been made, and the resi- 
due of such appropriations so made for the purposes of said 
Custodial Asylum, and the further sum of fifteen thousand 
dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, which is 
hereby appropriated out of any money in the treasury not 
otherwise appropriated, shall be paid over to the Treasurer 
of said State Custodial Asylum for Feeble-minded Women, 
to be expended by him under the direction of the Board of 
Trustees thereof, upon the order of the President, counter- 

signed by the Secretary, of said State Custodial Asylum, as 
the same may be required for the purposes of said State 
Custodial Asylum until the close of the next fiscal year. 

§ 5. — ^The sum of fifteen thousand dollars, or so much 
thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated out of 
any moneys in the State treasury not otherwise appropriated, 
to purchase and pay for the building and grounds now occu- 
pied by said Custodial Asylum. 

§ 6. — All acts or parts of acts inconsistent with this act 
are hereby repealed. 

§ 7. — This act shall take effect immediately. 

State of New York, 
Office of Secristary of State 


I have compared the preceding with the original law on 
file in this office, and do hereby certify that the same is a 
correct transcript therefrom and of the whole of said origi- 
nal law. 

JOSEPH B. CARR, Secretary of State. 

The Dedieation. 

The following addresses were delivered in the chapel at 
the dedicatory exercises June lo, 1890 : 


In presenting a short historical sketch of the history of the 
Asylum, I will first allude to the conditions that brought out 
the need of cuslodial care. Previous to the year 185 1, the 
public charities of the state of New York consisted in caring 
for the insane, the deaf and dumb, .and th« blind. At the 
beginning of modern effort in behalf of the feeble-minded 
and idiotic, an unhappy fact was the existence of so large a 
class in every county in the state, of all ages and classes. 
<* Society has always been blind to the existence of social 
evils until their magnitude made it impossible to longer re- 
fuse to see." The ratio of i to 1,000 showed that there were 
<< feeble folk" in the state. The magnitude of the evil was 
apparent. Up to this time, the history of the efforts for the 
betterment of the condition of the idiotic in England fur- 
nished the best of evidence of the value of established 

At first their institutions, like ours, were for insane, blind, 
and deaf and dumb. Later, they had built special asylums 
for custody, and our people began to realize that the time 
had come when a similar advance should be made in this 
country, where every person who had been denied the full 
gift of reason might receive care in accordance with the full 
dictates of humanity. The Legislature had several times 
been importuned, and the Governor had recommended that 

* m e e . 


provision be made for still another class equally unfortu- 
nate — the idiotic. In July, 1857, the Legislature appropri- 
ated $6,000 annually for two years, and the New York State 
Asylum for Idiots was established, and the city of Syracuse 
chosen for its location. (I shall necessarily refer frequently 
to= this Asylum, as it was the guardian of the Custodial 
during the experimental stage of some seven years.) The 
projectors of this charity for the idiotic believed they could 
be educated to a certain extent, and in gathering' in this un- 
fortunate clasiS, there was found at least twenty per cent, of 
the number that could not classify in this institution as 
teachable idiots, and as early as 1858 a crude idea of the 
benefits of a custodial home for the feeble-minded is shown 
in the report of Dn Wilbur, the able and efiicient founder 
of the Idiot Asylum. In his report to the Trustees, he says^ 
*'that the design and objects of this Asylum are not of a 
custodial character." 

In the establishing of this Asylum at Syracuse, sympa- 
thies were not only enlisted, but a duty incumbent on State 
governments was recognized, and it is a matter of just pride 
to us that our Empire State was among the first to establish 
so humane a charity. 1 

After twelve years of experience Dr. Wilber again re- 
ports : — "There are two directions that charity might take : 
First, a place for proper custodial management of the idi- 
otic; second, education so far as possible." Five years 
later (1869): — *' There is one class, constituting 20 per 
cent, of the whole number, who, in the absence of any 
proper custodial institution, are suffered to remain with us"; 
and he recommends that the law be so changed as to allow 
the Willard Asylum at Ovid to receive them. This recom- 
mendation was repeated again in 1870, when the State 
Board of Charities made substantially the same recommen- 
dations. In 1875 ^^' Wilber gained many valuable ideas 


concerning charity work by a visit to Great Britain. During 
this year, at the instance of the State Board of Charities, a 
law was enacted to remove all children from the county 
houses. During the years 1876, '77, in consequence of this 
act and the activity of the State Board of Charities, the 
various Asylums were filled to overflowing, and recommen- 
dations from many Asylums, heartily endorsed by the State 
Board, were made to the Legislature of 1878, for greater 
accommodations. The joint action of the Syracuse Board 
and State Board is shown in the following minutes of the 
Secretary at a special meeting of the Board of Trustees, 
held at Syracuse, March 12, 1878, The object of the meet- 
ing was to be the consideration of the question of a cus- 
todial institution for the idiotic. A committee of the State 
Board of Charities, consisting of Mrs. J. C. Lowell, Mr. W. 
P. Letch worth and Mr. J. C. Devereaux, was heard at full 
length on the subject. After full discussion by the Board of 
the whole matter, it was resolved, ** That we are willing to 
assume the responsibility of the management of a custodial 

It is well known that Mrs. J. C. Lowell, of New York, a 
lady well known throughout the State and Nation as well 
for her piiilanthropy, was the moving spirit in the State 
Board in urging custodial care, as was Dr. Wilber, also 
in ti-,e Syracuse Board. The result of their joint labors 
was an act of the Legislature, in 1887, appropriating $18,- 
000 '* for the support and maintenance of ad^lt idiotic and 
feeble-minded females, at an experimental Custodial Asy- 
lum, under the management of the Trustees of the New 
York State Asylum for Idiots." Before November, 1878, a 
building had been rented at Newark, and nine inmates 
received from county poorhouses and eighteen from the 
Asylum at Syracuse. 

During the legislative session of 1878, the Hon. James 


H. Miller represented this Assembly district, and did much 
to bring to the notice of the proper parties the then vacant 
building (the central one) which now constitutes the present 
group of buildings — A, B and C dormitories, chapel and 
dining hall, laundry, boiler-house and barn. The older citi- 
zens present will remember that the foundation and fin^Jt 
story were built before the war, intended for a Baptist Col- 
legiate Institute — funds failed, the work was suspended, and 
for ten or twelve years, there it stood, a monument to our 
want of enterprise and generosity. Finally, by rerewed 
subscriptions, it was finished, the German Methcdists pur- 
chased it, and for a time used it as a college ; want of stu- 
dents and lack of funds caused the mortgagee to foreclose, 
and it became private property. It remained closed until 
selected by the State for the custodial experiment, which 
**was to determine whether the need existed for such 
an asylum ; whether there are in the county poorhouses 
or elsewhere feeble-minded women who need care and 
protection to prevent them from multiplying their kind 
and so increasing the number of the dependent classes 
in the State; also, could they be maintained without undue 

In the fall of 1878, the Syracuse Idiot Asylum Trustees 
secured the services of Mr. C. C. Warner and wife as 
Superintendent and Matron of the "Custodial," and with 
two inmates the institution w^as opened in September, '78, 
and the ** Custodial Asylum for Feeble-Minded Women" 
was located and placed on trial. In November the number 
was increased to twenty-seven, others being added con- 

In 1879 ^^^ Asylum was visited by Dr. Ireland, who was 
at the head of a charitable institution in Scotland, and on an 
inspection tour of the public charities of America. On his 
return to England, he published in the British journal of 


Science his views of the ''Newark Custodial." After speak- 
ing in commendatory terms of the building, location, good 
health, neat appearance, general condition of the inmates, 
and moderate cost of maintenance, he says :— ''There is no 
doubt that here we have a difficult question solved in a sim- 
ple manner. Such an Asylum must be a very useful and 
beneficial institution, and one which can only be supported 
at the expense of the State. Viewed from a money point 
alone, the cost of neglecting them is likely to be greater 
than the cost ol taking proper care of them." 

The Committee having special care of the Custodial, in 
their first annual report, state that Mr. Warner was chosen 
Superintendent because of his successful experience as 
keeper of the Onondaga County Poorhouse and Superin- 
tendent of the Poor of that county. 

The inmates, now numbering 88, as might have been ex- 
pected in view of the surroundings from which they came 
and the lives of idleness and neglect which they probably 
lived, were not a hopeful looking set, either in appearance 
or conduct ; but the able and efficient Superintendent set 
about organizing and planning to meet their conditions. 
Those best acquainted know how perfectly he succeeded. 
Each department of household occupation became a train- 
ing school, and the most useful inmates are assistants in the 
necessary work of the institution. 

In 1880, the Trustees in charge report that they have no 
need for special appropriation, unless it be deemed wise by 
the Legislature to purchase the property at Newark, now 
occupied on lease. 

In 1881, the usefulness of the Custodial had become so 
marked and well recognised by State and County officials, 
that a committee was appointed, consisting of the Comp- 
troller, Superintencfent of Public Instruction and Trustees of 
Idiot Asylum, to determine whether the Newark property 



should be purchased, or the lease continued. The Commit- 
tee recommended the experiment be continued. 

Up to 1882, the Syracuse Board, as well as the State 
Board, had frequently recommended the purchasing of the 
Newark property. The prosperity of the Asylum is noted. 
The inmates were led to see, by their habits of industry, that 
they were contributing to their own comfort and enjoyment. 
Under these influences, and with maturer years, a few of 
them at least may become capable of caring for themselves, 
in proportion as their mental and moral sense is capable of 
being developed. 

In the spring of 1883, Dr. Wilber died. He was the 
founder, and for 33 years Superintendent of the State Idiot 
Asylum at Syracuse ; for five years the Custodial had been 
under his supervision. In the death of this wise and good 
man, the Custodial, as a Newark institution, lost a valued 
friend and hearty supporter. Dr. Wilber was succeeded by 
Dr. G. A. Doren, of Ohio. The first annual report made 
under his administration says: — "The experiment in behalf 
of custodial care should now take permanent and enduring 
form." "For various reasons, the custodial department 
should be in the immediate vicinity of the parent establish- 
ment" — thus early looking to the removal of the "Newark 
branch." They obtained large appropriations for repairs ; a 
building was erected instead. 

The above report was made to the Legislature of 1884, in 
which year I had the honor to represent this Assembly dis- 
trict. Feeling a great responsibility, and desiring to repre- 
sent my constituents faithfully, I considered it my bounden 
duty to read every document placed on my desk, and make 
myself thoroughly conversant with every act and resolution 
oflfered (I am told all fresh members do this). Among the 
first department reports circulated was a copy of the annual 
report of the State Board of Charities, strongly recommend- 


ing the purchase of the Newark Asylum, and stating that 
the recommendations had several times been repeated. This 
seemed passing strange ; I had never heard of it before, and 
could not learn of but one that had, in the vicinity of the 
Asylum — the State Board desiring to locate a State institu- 
tion in our town, and no one aware of it. I thoucrht I had 
only to make known our readiness to receive such a gift and 
it would be forthcoming at once. This happy state of mind 
was somewhat disturbed by the appearance of a Senate bill, 
introduced by Senator McCarthy. Although innocent in 
appearance, there seemed to be something suspicious about 
it. It read :— ** An act devolving the care, management and 
administration of the Custodial Asylum upon the Trustees of 
the Asylum for Idiots, making the former a branch of the 

The Custodial was, in fact, an independent institution, 
over which they had only a supervisory management, but 
this act would give them absolute control. The bill was 
somewhat modified by the opposition, in committee, and 
ordered to a third reading April 24, 1884. 

Hon. Mr. Littlejohn, of Oswego, rendered great assist- 
ance by introducing the following amendment : — *' The sum 
of $15,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is 
hereby appropriated out of any money in the treasury not 
otherwise appropriated, to purchase the building and prem- 
ises occupied by said Custodial Asylum, located at Newark, 
New York. And now the hottest fight of the session was 
being waged. For two hours, resolutions and amendments 
were offered and defeated ; but on the final vote, the amend- 
ment was carried by the close vote of 44 to 42. 

The bill as amended was then read, and our hopes, so re- 
cently elated, were rudely crushed, as the clerk declared the 
amended bill lost. The balance of the session was spent by 
the Onondaga and Wayne members attending every moment 


of every session, for fear advantage might be taken of the 
others' absence. In the meantime, a bill incorporating the 
Custodial Asylum had been prepared at my request by Hon. 
Anson S. Wood, at that time Deputy Secretary of State, a 
Wayne county man well known to most of you. As the 
terms of this bill were the main features of Mr. Littlejohn's 
amendment, it shared the same fate and was <^ laid on the 
table" for the session. 

The summer of 1884 pas*?ed without incident, save that 
Superintendent Warner declared that the new building being 
erected at Syracuse was for the Custodial inmates. 

In 1885, this district was again represented by a Wayne 
county member, the Hon. E. K. Burnham. He entered the 
session as a member of the minority, and fully appreciating 
the difficulty he must labor under to succeed, as he was de- 
termined to do, in the locating of the Custodial Asylum as a 
permanent State institution for the village of his adoption, 
his first act was to introduce the bill that had been prepared 
the previous session. It was referred to the usual commit- 
tee, and there it rested. Weeks passed by, and still it re- 
mained in the committee- room. Some two months had 
passed by, a mystery seemed to hang over it, the majority of 
the committee gave little encouragement, and finally he be- 
came satisfied that the committee did not intend to allow it to 
re-enter the Assembly room. Mr. Burnham, not wishing to 
bear the loss and responsibility of so important a measure 
alone, insisted that a committee, composed of the originator 
and friends of the bill in former session, should go before 
the committee, and, if possible, bring the bill into the House. 
The committee were asked if they could ** resurrect the 
dead," and, in explanation, were informed that the bill had 
been *' tabled" in committee, and advices sent from our own 
county that it must not see the light, because the influence 
of the passage of that bill would give Wayne county a 


Democratic judge next fall. After convincing the committee 
that a Republican majority of 2,000 could not be overcome 
even by such an influence, the bill was taken from the table 
and reported to the House next morning. Mr. Hendricks, 
of Onondaga, headed the opposition, and '* he was a foeman 
worthy of any man's steel." After fierce debate, and the 
true merits of the bill had been fully demonstrated, opposi- 
tion almost vanished and only six votes were recorded against 
it. This practically ended opposition, and the journal clerk, 
Mr. Almon C. Green, of Palmyra, very courteously handed 
it over to the Senate, and the Senator from the 28th, the 
Hon. Thomas Robinson, of Clyde, became responsible for 
its safe-keeping. He showed himself equal to the emer- 
gency, although confronted by Senator McCarthy, one ot 
the strongest men in the Senate. The bill passed the third 
reading in the Senate in the shortest time allowable by par- 
liamentary law, and was sent to the Governor. His signa- 
ture in due time was attached, and on the 14th day of May, 
1885, one of the noblest charities in the State was perma- 
nently established. 

The Governor, Hon. David B. Hill, appointed the follow- 
ing Board of Trustees : Hon. David Decker, of Elmira ; 
Rev. M. S. Hard, of Canandaigua (now of Binghamton) ; 
Darwin Colvin, M. D., of Clyde; Mrs. Lucy W. Butler, of 
Syracuse; Mrs. Lucian Yeomans, of Walworth; Mrs. E. 
C. Perkins, of Newark; Chas. G. Pomeroy, M. D., of New- 
ark ; S. N. Gallup, of Macedon ; S. S. Peirson, of Newark. 

This ended the controversy of an honest difference of in- 
terests, and with the establishing of the Custodial, the best 
of feeling prevailed, and no institutions in the State are 
more cordial and closely allied to-day than the State Idiot 
and the Custodial Asylums. 

The new Board of Trustees met at the Asylum June 2, 
1885, to take charge of their new trust and assume the new 

• • . • 

x. ^ • 


responsibilities placed upon them. The Board organized by 
electing S. S. Peirson, President; Rev. M. S. Hard^ Secre- 
tary; S. N. Gallup, Treasurer. C. C. Warner and his wife 
were retained as Superintendent and Matron, and highly 
commended for the very high state of efficiency which seems 
to characterize their work everywhere. Mrs. Yeomans hav- 
ing declined, her successor, Mrs. Helen B. Case, of Roches- 
ter, was appointed Trustee. The first report of the new 
Board of Trustees was made to the Legislature in January, 
1886. Plans were submitted and accommodations for 150 
additional inmates asked for, and the purchase of 33 acres 
of adjoining land recommended. 

On account of death in Mr. Warner's family, Mr. and 
Mrs. Warner resigned in March, 1886, and the present 
Superintendent and Matron, Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Willett, 
were elected, and we are glad to be able to report that the 
standing of the institution has not depreciated. Although 
not acquainted with institutional life, they showed great 
adaptability for the work, and the mental and moral train- 
ing has continued with marked success, and the training de- 
partments are thoroughly organized and highly beneficial to 
the inmates, and make the administration of the institution 
comparatively easy as compared with the idle and un- 

In 1886, the dormitory on the east and the boiler-house 
were erected, and steam fixtures in the main and east build- 
ing put in. During the year 1887 our Board sustained the 
loss of Dr. C. G. Pomeroy, which is mentioned in our third 
annual report as follows : — *' With sadness, we announce the 
death of one of our Board of Trustees, Dr. Chas. G. Pome- 
roy. He had been ill for many months, yet he was often 
able to be consulted as to the interests of the institution, and 
his valuable advice was always counted important. He de- 
clined the re-election of Treasurer and Physician at our last 


Board meeting, himself believing that his end v^as near. 
He was broad enough to plan well for the present and the 
future, yet conservative enough not to be visionary or unduly 
lavish. He will be seriously missed from our councils, and 
will not soon be forgotten for his professional, social and per- 
sonal worth." Hon. E. K. Burnham was appointed to fill 
the vacancy. 

The east building being completed, was quickly filled. 
The Superintendents of the Poor are now well acquainted 
with the benefits accruing to their unfortunate wards, and 
applications came pouring in upon us that we could not ac- 
cept for want of room. 

In the year 1888 the laundry was erected and supplied 
with the best improved machinery for washing and drying 
clothes. The dormitory on the west was enclosed in i88b, 
and completed in 1889. The building in which we are gath- 
ered to-day is the last one erected and rounds out the cluster 
of buildings and makes them so complete in themselves. S. 
N. Keener, of Newark, was the architect of the dormitories, 
barn, dining-rooms and chapel, and Messrs. Pierce & Dox- 
tator the architects of the laundry. Messrs. Chas. Schuman 
& Co. were the contractors and builders of all the buildings 
erected. Some two years ago C. H. Perkins was selected 
by the Board to have an oversight of the grounds and was 
elected ** landscape gardener." The manner in which the 
lawn, drives and walks are laid out, shrubs and trees are 
planted, a vegetable and fruit garden provided, bespeak the 
taste and intelligence exercised. 

The number of inmates in attendance to-day is 310. 
There are now applications enough to fill it to overflowing. 
The State Board of Lunacy report 1,200 needing custodial 
care in the State. The Trustees of the Asylum believe that 
without materially increasing the cost of management, we 
have room for buildings on our well laid out grounds of 


about 40 acres, to provide for 1,000 to 1,200 more. In the 
erection of these buildings, the aim has been to avoid ex- 
travagance, but build as durably and permanently as possi- 

I have sketched at length the events that occurred to 
bring this institution into being, as well as the occurrences 
since its establishment, and on the completion of this beauti- 
ful chapel, it seems very proper that a dedicatory service 
should be held here and the public invited to inspect it, and, 
we trust, to enjoy and approve of it ; and we assemble this 
day to ask Divine blessing on this institution and its future 



Ancient history presents a picture of the world shrouded 
in moral darkness, superstition and universal despotism. 
The principle that might makes right, predominated the 
earth. A few men wielded the sceptre over the masses. 
Stuart Mill said : — *'I have found it not possible to write the 
history of any modem country's liberty, without some refer- 
ence to a cross that once stood outside a Jewish city." From 
that cross and the sepulchre which for a brief time contained 
the form of the Crucified One, beamed forth the light des- 
tined to enlighten and liberate the souls and bodies of the 
inhabitants of earth. From that cross a new dispensation 
was inaugurated, in which woman was to become the equal 
of man in influence and moral worth. A woman was made 
bearer of the first message from the Lord of the Universe to 
His disappointed, discouraged, sorrowing friends, who were 
to become His ambassadors, bearing tidings of salvation and 
eternal life to the ends of the earth. 

From that era, the progress of light and liberty has been 


steadily onward, and at this time we see the civilized nations 
vieing with each other in methods for the amelioration of the 
condition of the poor and unfortunate classes. England and 
America lead in exemplifying the enlargement of the sphere 
of women, in the cordial co-operation accorded them in 
these methods. In the cities, organizations of men and 
women combined, exist for the protection of poor women 
from unjust dealing from grasping, grinding employers. 
Aged indigent women are provided with good, comfortable 
homes for their declining years. Boarding homes for self- 
supporting young women, who have no friends in the city, 
are maintained in all the large places. Orphans and the in* 
sane have been cared for for many years. The State of 
New York established the first institution for the care of the 
better class of idiotic children forty years ago, and the ex- 
periment proved so successful in the mental and physical 
development of many of them, that other states and coun- 
tries have followed the example with universal satisfaction. 
There was yet one class of unfortunates found among the 
county and state charges for whom there seemed no hope for 
better things in the future — feeble-minded women, who are 
not able to provide for themselves because not being capable 
of doing anything without constant supervision, though 
physically able to perform a large amount ot labor under 
proper direction. 

The great cause of idiocy has been found to be intem^per" 
ance. In the wretched homes of the inebriate are found all 
grades of mental and physical disability.'^ In such families^ 
all who can must help in their support, and where a poor, 
weak-minded one appears, they soon become a burden 
greater than even the mother is able to carry, and often in 
compassion, the neighbors secure the admission of the weak 
one into the county hoiise, where, in a great many cases, 
they have been buried for years, so far as the outside world 


is concerned, but not so with themselves. The county house 
is not a place for improvement, either physical or mental, 
but a weak-minded one can be trained to menial service, 
and can become the victim of heartless abuse. But there 
was no other place where they could be allowed to exist at 
all. In our State, no children are allowed to remain in the 
county houses, after they are old enough to be separated 
from the mother. But the mothers have no custodial care. 
When our State Board of Charities began their visits of 
inspection to the institutions under State supervision, they 
were surprised at the number of feeble-minded women in the 
county houses. They found also that most of them were 
beariag children. Some of them had borne three or four 
during their stay there— children of the same grade of in- 
tellect as themselves, or even lower ; and thus the burdens 
of the State were being increased from within their institu- 
tions, to say nothing of the inhumanity suffered by these de- 
fenceless ones. This was a subject -demanding attention and 
mitigation. An appeal to State authority was decided upon, 
and a woman had the courage and the heart to go before a 
Committee of the Legislature and plead for a home for these 
poor women, where they could be made useful for their own 
comfort, and be protected against wrong from others ; and 
with gratitude of heart, we point to this institution as the re- 
sult of their reply to Mrs. Lowell's entreaties. That which 
was undertaken as a doubtful experiment at first, has proved 
a grand success, and an example which has been gladly fol- 
lowed by many other States in our country. England has 
been attracted by its influence, and representatives from that 
country have visited this place to see for themselves, others 
have inquired by correspondence of what could be done for 
this class of poor humanity, and now similar institutions 
mark her Christian philanthropy. The constantly improv- 
ing condition of these wards confirms the wisdom, the jus- 



tice, as well as the true Christian kindness that prompted the 
effort in their behalf. Under the care of Christian teachers, 
many of them are enabled to comprehend the meaning of a 
Savior's love, and to know what it is to be children of a lov- 
ing Heavenly Father. Their poor crushed hearts yearn for 
sympathy and love ; a kindly look, a cheerful smile of 
recognition seems to thrill them with irrepressible gladness. 

The words "father" and "mother" seem very sweet to 
them, and they are more than happy in being allowed to 
apply those titles to the Superintendent and Matron. As in 
our homes, the dearest place in the household is mother's 
room ; so here it is esteemed a great privilege to render any 
service that may be needed in mother's room, and no 
greater punishment need be inflicted for any offence than to 
be shut out of that dear place. 

I think I hear some persons ask:— "Do these women 
have to be punished?" The very reason why they cannot 
be retained in the homes of their parents is that they must 
be restrained and disciplined, in order to make them useful 
and prevent their destroying the peace and comfort of the 
whole family. But in those homes there are too many con- 
flicting elements beside the absolute necessity of each one 
being able to toil for daily bread. Those we call feeble- 
minded usually have a strong a////, that will not be con- 
trolled by anything less than their own physical strength, 
and that is why the mothers are willing to commit their 
children to the mercy even of the poorhouse. Cases of this 
character are brought to our attention very often since the 
opening of this Institution. Only a few days ago, the case 
of a young girl came to me who must be provided with a 
home somewhere, or the family would be broken up, for the 
step-mother could stand the trial no longer. We are ap- 
palled at the great number of this class that are reported as 
found in this State, — not less than 1,200 who need custodial 


care to-day. Will they be provided for? Since the State 
allows the traffic in that which lies at the base of all this 
trouble to be carried on almost without restriction, is it not 
imperative that the revenue derived therefrom be applied to 
the full extent of the need, for the relief, as far as possible, 
of the innocent sufferers? and is it not the duty of all good 
men and women to faithtully, and if need be, persistently 
urge the claims of these feeble-minded women, until they 
shall all be safely and comfortably housed in custodial asy* 
lum, to the credit of the State, and to the praise of that 
Savior who died on that cross nearly nineteen hundred years 


It was not the purpose of those responsible to the State 
for the care of this institution to render this occasion one for 
personal commendation. Nor was it our thought, in invit- 
ing these honored representatives and officials of the State ; 
these women and men who are no strangers to public life, 
nor to places of trust and care, relegated to them by the au- 
thority of the commonwealth, that we should parade before 
them our work, and enforce approbation by the law of 
courtesy. Nor were we simple enough to assume that there 
was so much to approve in the construction, modernness, 
utility, or attractiveness of this building we open for use to- 
day, that there was need of song or speech, of sentiment or 
response. Our ways here, as you must see, are unpre- 
tentious and natural. We have sought to make them so 
honest that they would stand any light, and have insisted 
that the laws of business should be put into our methods. 
But the State, if true to its purpose, works steadily to a prin- 
ciple which is relieved ot the caprice and fickleness peculiar 
to private enterprise. The State takes into its care the en- 


tirety of human interest ; protects man's inventions ; shields 
his character ; sustains his rights in worship ; maintains his 
proper claims to property, and guards the purity of his 
home. And here let me say, that it is the duty of the State 
to be humane. It is not possible that all who make a com- 
monwealth should be equal in brain-force, in power to con- 
struct wealth, or in purity of purpose. The encouragement 
offered every boy to strive for the presidency is a sophistry. 
Inequality in mind creates grades in morals. When morals 
come to minds of low grade, there comes promptly the need 
of security to society. Now, security comes not alone from 
courts and governmental orders ; from high-walled prisons, 
and men bearing ponderous keys. That is for protection, 
after wrongs have ruined. While the State does well to 
hold strong here, yet, toward those who tread under its en- 
sign, who have brawn, and passion, and weakness, and irre- 
sponsibility, it has a mission of humaneness. For those 
who cannot elect success ; who are not responsible for their 
infirmities ; who enter the census-count because they have 
the form of beings that are human, who are the impersona- 
tion of social wrongs, and carry in face and speech and 
form the tenderest pleadings for protection ; toward these, 
we maintain, the State should exercise the most pronounced 
humanity. The forms of humaneness we may not consume 
time to detail, for different grades of need must find adapted 
forms of relief. The State is the centralizing of social and 
reformatory and protective forces. It is not fair to predicate 
that there is absence of mind, because it is undeveloped. 
This was the assumption of that patient, plodding, skillful 
man, our late and greatly esteemed Dr. Wilber. For forty 
years he adjusted himself to the mind that seemed vacant, 
but which he believed had in it what would respond to tutor- 
ing and to care. Without precedent or defined methods, he 
constructed as he went. He started with the based principle 

• *<.#» 

<* <• • 


that it was unrighteous to leave dormant a mind that might 
open and be a cheer to its possessor, and a kindly relief to 
the hearts of kindred. That the misfortune of enfeebled in^ 
tellect did not relegate the unhappy one to a crowd that 
should be ignored, uncounted and unimproved, but that op- 
portunities were their right, and bringing to better develop- 
rnent the duty of those charged with their care. 

Nor is this labor of humanity laid solely upon religious 
conscience, professional experiment, or private enterprise. 
We maintain that the State is responsible to every grade of 
mind, not only in protecting, btit in developing as well, and 
that it is in the line of its allotments, when it uses the best 
conscience of its private citizens, the uncorrupted judgment 
of it« legislative counselors, and ample funds from its treas- 
ury, in the effort to be humane toward the unfortunate that 
halt within its boundaries. 

This leads me to say that it is our conviction, that the 
State should originate charities. A charity has a purpose of 
gain to one that is needy. And Sir Lytton covered the 
thought when he said : — ** Give to the ignorant our own wis- 
dom ! give sorrow our comfort 1 lend to those who live in 
crime, the counsels of our virtue I share with souls our 
souls, and Satan shall despair I" Private charities must have 
private reasons and purposes. The cases of absolutely dis- 
interested philanthropies will hardly warrant the prediction 
of a rule. It is human to have back of every effort some 
li^tent expectation of return. 

The man active at the polls, expects a clerkship or a job. 
The founder of an orphans' home would not anticipate that 
the poor would have him at the elections. Private asylums 
tor the unfortunate of any class are established for personal 
experiment; for opportunity to secure professional repute; 
or for financial gains. None of these are unworthy, and all 
may enter into one project ; but, is all this in the interest of 


MAR-»i,3j7 II